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  1. #1

    Default Books for Struggling Readers in 1st and 2nd grade

    My DS8 has really struggled to learn to read, and it was always hard to find books that were at his level, but not too "babyish". Here's my list of books that have worked for him, in order of increasing difficulty:

    Hooked on Phonics Kindergarten (I got just the 14 books off ebay, not the whole program)
    BOB books
    Froggy Phonics (short and long vowels) -- other phonics series available at Costco are similar
    Books by Margaret Hillert (good for sight words, only 50-100 unique words per book)
    Progressive Phonics -- series of printable books available free at Progressive Phonics - Progressive Phonics
    My Phonics Readers (ie Top Dog by Ann Marie Ryan) -- various authors, publisher is New Forest Press
    P.D Eastman (Go Dog Go, Are You My Mother, etc.)
    Dr. Suess Beginner Books (ie Cat in the Hat) -- many of these were too long
    Elephant and Piggie -- series by Mo Willems
    Real Kids Readers -- various authors, publisher is 21st Century
    Flying Beaver Brothers -- comic series by Maxwell Eaton
    Squish -- comic series by Jennifer Holm
    Babymouse -- comic series by Jennifer Holm
    Clone Wars Adventures -- comic series

    Many thanks to farrarwilliams who recommended most of these books to me!
    Last edited by zette; 01-15-2014 at 05:13 AM.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Evolved Epiphany's Avatar
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    May 2011
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    Thanks for this. I am always looking for good beginning readers for my little guy.

  4. #3


    Thank you for this. I have a DD7 who struggles to read and finding books for her is hard for the same reasons. I will check these out.
    Lindsey ~ Mommy to Kaitlynn

  5. #4


    Okay, I've got another one for you guys. Maybe just about at Babymouse level - as in, a few big words, but not a ton of text per page and a lot of simple dialogue with a lot of pictures. Comics series, full color, superhero style, very faux serious. Super Dinosaur. There are three compilations of the individual issues so far with another on the way. It's about a boy whose father is a super genius scientist who discovers dinosaurs living in the center of the earth. The boy has a T-Rex that is his friend and they fight evil together.
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  6. #5


    Another that is about the level of Babymouse:

    Lunch Lady -- series by Jarrett Krosoczka

  7. #6


    Decided to list out the My Phonics Readers they had at my library:

    Snail trail by Grindley, Sally.
    Wish fish by Hay, Sam.
    Tick tock clock by Cuyler, Margery.
    Queen Ella's feet by Grindley, Sally.
    Top dog by Ryan, Anne Marie.
    A duck in luck by Ryan, Anne Marie.
    Chuck and duck by Hay, Sam.
    On my boat by Noyed, Robert B.

  8. #7


    Here are the Real Kid Readers:

    Mud! by Simon, Charnan.

    Stop that noise! by Bernstein, Margery.

    I'll do it later by Tidd, Louise Vitellaro.

    The lunch bunch by Finch, Margo.

    Dan and Dan by Leonard, Marcia.

    Let me help! by Tidd, Louise Vitellaro.

    The best pet yet by Tidd, Louise Vitellaro.

    Get the ball, Slim by Leonard, Marcia.

    That's hard, that's easy by Bernstein, Margery.

    Loose-tooth Luke by Jensen, Patsy.

    No new pants! by Leonard, Marcia.

    My brother, the pest by Bernstein, Margery.

  9. #8


    One of my boys loved those Real Kids Readers for a few months. It was so funny. Probably early in first grade? Our library had hardback copies of them all.
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  10. #9


    I'm happy to report that my son just graduated to chapter books, and I have found the perfect series for the start of that phase!

    Thorton W Burgess wrote a series of animal stories that I loved as a child. These books are 100 years old and have stood the test of time. Chatter the Red Squirrel is one example. The level is particularly good for a child who has just graduated to chapter books -- not that many multisyllable words, very short chapters, lots of repeated vocabulary, and more complex sentence structure than many of today's books. The stories are just very well written, engaging, and more innocent and gentle than today's literature without being dumbed down.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Evolved
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    Sep 2013


    Wow what a great resource. Thanks for the lists zette! Just found this thread.

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Books for Struggling Readers in 1st and 2nd grade